Prison Inmates Working for Private Companies and American Public Opinion*
The First National Public Opinion Research on Prison Inmates Working for Private Companies
Consider a 24-year convicted a third time for burglary after failing probation and parole. Which is more important to you?
That he receive a stiff punishment and a long sentence.33.5%
That he spend his time in prison learning an employable skill, getting a high school diploma, and taking vocational courses so that he is ready to hold a job when he gets out.46.1%
Both equally important.15.7%
Don't know/refused.4.7%
In many states private businesses can set up operations inside prisons and employ prisoners full time without using any tax dollars. Prisoners are paid at least minimum wage and up to 80% of these wages come back to the state for taxes, room and board, court costs, and victim restitution. Which view about prisoners working for private companies is closest to yours?
I like it because they can learn new job skills and pay part of their prison costs while behind bars.56.1%


Prison Inmates Working for Private Companies and American Public Opinion*—Continued
I do not like it because they might take jobs away from law abiding citizens looking for work.32.1%
Don't know/refused5.2%
Please listen to the following statement. “If a business from my community wants to set up an operation inside my state's prison because it can't find enough employees in my area, I would support it because my community would not lose jobs or economic development to prisoners.” Do you:
Strongly agree28.5%
Somewhat agree34.0%
Somewhat disagree15.2%
Strongly disagree17.9%
Don't know/refused4.4%
*From a national survey of 1005 adults completed by the Luntz Research Companies April 29 through May 1, 1998 (+ / - 3.1%)